Burbank salutes area veterans

Hundreds of Burbank residents flocked to the McCambridge Park War Memorial on Monday to honor U.S. military veterans for generations of service to the nation.

Sponsored by the city and the Burbank Veterans Committee, the event began with a flyover by the Condor Squadron.

PHOTOS: Burbank Veterans Day ceremony

“Let us not forget those who died in service to our country, those veterans that are hospitalized and cannot be with us, all those veterans that are homeless, and the veterans that are still dealing with the stress of the wartime experience,” said Mickey DePalo, chair of the Burbank Veterans Committee, in his opening remarks.

Among those honored at the ceremony were Maj. Mitzi Koch-Hawk, a Burbank native who retired from the Air Force in August after 24 years of service, and Lt. Col. Robert Friend, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, who flew 142 combat missions over Germany during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the nation's armed forces.

“Thank you for protecting us,” one kindergartner said before her class from St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Elementary School sang “God Bless the USA.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) urged residents to take a more active role in helping veterans assimilate into civilian life.

“Those of you that are veterans, you have done your part. It falls on the rest of us to do our part,” Schiff said. “Not just to try to understand, but to make sure that when you come back… that we help treat those with physical wounds, that we help treat those with mental wounds, and I have to say, we are falling far short of the task.”

Gatto encouraged local business owners with job openings to consider hiring veterans, calling them disciplined, hardworking and accustomed to long hours.

“They're good workers,” Gatto said.

Closing the ceremony, the Burbank Community Band performed the “Armed Forces Medley,” honoring each branch of military — the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps., Air Force and Navy.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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